Thursday, January 19, 2017

Conversations with Cheetah

Previously I have described my probing conversations with Cheetah, the short morning and afternoon commutes quickly become a formal inquisition. The years have been racing by but the daily scrutiny has remained, but he has up-ed the ante. He stuns me daily, as his subject matters widely broaden, I imagine this is due to his veracious reading, YouTube viewing (he does so in the living room, under our screening - no parent shaming needed), and countless hours of video game playing.
He plays good cop/bad cop as he grills me for answers while testing the validity of the responses with additional inquiries and promises of "googling" when our discussion has ended. After nearly ten straight minutes of examination, I pull into the driveway hoping for a reprieve. I close my eyes and try to get my heart rate back into the safe zone, while beginning to replay my answers in my mind.
Did I respond to his question about Herpes too graphically? Maybe he is too concerned with what his classmates think of him. Why in the world did I try to describe the Holocaust by myself, when I know I become too passionate? How else was I supposed to approach a questions about sperm? Thank goodness all we talked about was bugs and lizards today. What did he mean by, "but he did throw like a girl?" These moments of reflection leave me ready for round two, which never goes as well as the round he initiated; but I attempt to solidify my point or opinion, as I watch his eyes slowly begin to glaze over...

And there en lies the problem, he is only prepared to actively listen when he is ready to discuss issues with me; which I am learning happens less and less, in direct correlation with the amount of birthdays he has experienced. I'm unsure if I should be proud that he is growing more aware of his environment, that he catches every detail and written word that is around him or if I should be worried that he seems too aware of the world around him and isn't more lost in the thoughts and musings of a care-free child.
Those concerns lead me to a realization, maybe that's why many school districts have a completely separate school for children of this age, Middle School. It must be a place dripping with angst, overrun with attitude, and full of students who's eyes are stuck in the "rolled position" - what a drastic change from the light, airy, and happy hallways of the cute elementary school he currently attends. He's nervous to make that jump to the new school full of older kids, and I'm down right terrified.
I do have an ace up my sleeve though, a friend who works as a Counselor in the Middle School that Cheetah will be attending. We've discussed what changes I can expect and she assures me that things aren't as scary as I am envisioning. She has almost convinced me that Middle School is a gift to parents. It's the time in which we can train our hearts and bodies for the marathon ahead; to prepare for a barrage of arguments, patience obliteration, and additional limit testing.
As I continue to enjoy our last year at elementary school, I invite you fellow parents to incoming Middle Schoolers to take this school year and summer to cuddle your kids - when they'll let you, enjoy your conversations with them about their friends and hobbies, and try to keep your cool under the bare bulb of the investigation room.

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